This weeks Meet a Mom is a fabulous resource for ANY mom. She is Robin Deem, founder of CaliGirl Cooking, a food blog featuring recipes for a balanced life, wine, cocktails and motherhood in between. She recently created a personalized meal planning and time management consulting service geared just for us – the busy mom. Robin has created MANY useful tools and tried and true methods, to make meal planning manageable AND enjoyable!! She has plenty of simple, healthy recipes that the whole family will love, yes even those picky toddlers.
Hi Robin, we are so HAPPY to have you here. Please tell us where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Santa Barbara? What made you decide to live here?
I grew up in Santa Cruz, CA and I’ve lived in Santa Barbara for 6 years now. I spent time living in Honolulu and the Napa Valley after college and just wanted to keep adding more beautiful places to the list of where I’ve lived 😉 In all seriousness, my brother went to UCSB and I ALMOST went to there, so Santa Barbara was always on my radar of someplace I wanted to live. When I was offered a temporary job at a local resort, I decided to take the leap and have been stuck here ever since!
Wow you have lived in some of the most beautiful places. How many children do you have and what are their age(s)?
I have one adorable and vivacious little girl, Raia, who just turned two.
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
I am the creator of CaliGirlCooking You can find all of my family-friendly recipes and baby and toddler feeding tips on my blog CaliGirlCooking.com. I also offer an online course called Feeding Toddlers: Unlocked! I’m @caligirlcooking for all of my social media accounts!
What gave you the idea to start your blog? What is your mission and or goals behind it?
I originally started CaliGirl Cooking way back in 2010 as a way to share all of my favorite recipes with family and friends who kept asking for them. Once I saw others making a career out of food blogging, I knew I wanted to do the same! My mission is to empower busy moms to make efficient, nutritious and delicious meals the entire family will love without all the stress and hassle.
Do you have a staple meal in your house?
This is a tough question because – as a person who makes my living trying out new recipes – we rarely eat the same thing twice! I will say though, it’s perfectly normal for us to be eating a dish as simple as an arugula salad with whatever leftover protein or vegetables we have sitting around or burrito bowls. When I’m a bit more inspired, I love making a huge pot of nourishing minestrone soup!
What’s your favorite family activity in Santa Barbara?
The beach is my family’s number one spot here in Santa Barbara. We also have a 2 ½ year old Golden Retriever, so we love being able to load up everyone and get out to enjoy the sunshine. If we can get our act together, we also love hitting the trails and going on a family hike.
Where is your favorite place to eat and/or shop in Santa Barbara?
The Lark, hands down. We’ve never been disappointed with their food and, as a food blogger, I have incredibly high standards! Everything there is thoughtfully prepared with high-quality ingredients. And we love the family-style aspect of it all!
With all the meal planning and cooking you do at home, where is your favorite place to grocery shop?
I shop for probably 85% of our groceries at Trader Joe’s. You just can’t beat those prices! I get whatever I can there, then supplement with Sprouts or Whole Foods.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I am so passionate about wine! I am a Level One Sommelier and also a Certified Specialist of Wine. I guess the technical term for that is “cork dork.” 😉
How do you balance work/ mom life?
Great question. It’s a constant struggle! But one that I’m really conscious about because I believe balance in ALL areas of one’s life is incredibly important. In fact, my blog’s tagline is “Recipes for a balanced life.” But balance is about so much more than just food! There are so many things involved. The two things I find most helpful in achieving the work/mom life balance are: (1) Being present in the moment. When it’s time to work, it’s time to work. When it’s time to connect with my little one, it’s time to connect with my little one with no other distractions. (2) Planning, which leads to efficiency. I find that when I have a plan in place, I’m not nearly as stressed and so much more present in the moment. By carving out some time to outline what needs to get done and how I’m going to do it, I’m able to be much more efficient, freeing up more time to spend with my family or get something done for the business.
Best advice given as a parent?
When it comes to planning, carve out time to do so and WRITE IT DOWN! This is one of the biggest tips I give to my meal planning clients. If you don’t write down when you’re going to do something and actually block it off in your calendar, it’s so much less likely to get done. Block out some time for meal planning, meal prep or anything else you feel you need to accomplish and give it a specific time slot in your schedule.
Also, ask for help! This is something I’m constantly working on getting better at because I know it is SO important yet it’s something I’m not that great at. It truly does take a village to raise a child (or children), and the more you ask for help, the more others will feel comfortable asking you for the same.
That is a great tip. I have so many thoughts as a mom, constantly. I don’t even think about writing down half of them! I love this advice! What are a few of the most recent things you’ve pinned on Pinterest and/or who do you follow on Instagram?
Oh my goodness, I’m constantly pinning things to Pinterest! I’ve recently been creating more specific boards for the particular situations I’m in or I know my audience is in, like boards dedicated to Weeknight Meals, Toddler Food and Baby-Led Weaning.
On Instagram, I love following The Every Mom and Momma Society. Basically, any account that has great tips for moms and entertaining littles!
Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
My mama! She is a retired NICU nurse, so she was my “doula” during the birthing process and such a great help when Raia was first born. Now, ALL of the grandparents are so great with Raia and help out whenever they can. We only wish they all lived a little closer!
Also, I can’t forget my foodie gal girlfriends. We have a group of female entrepreneurs in the food and wine space, and all happened to get pregnant around the same time. These past 2+ years would have been so lonely without them.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
I love that, for the size of our community, we have SO MANY entrepreneurs and individuals forging their own path here in Santa Barbara. I have met so many amazing ladies (most of whom are moms!) in my six years here and am so grateful to be able to connect with them and grow with them.
The holidays are coming up! Will you please share with us some of your favorite Thanksgiving and holiday recipes ?
Yum, I just love Thanksgiving and holiday recipes! Here are some of my favorites:
Herbed Butternut Squash Gratin with Amaretti Crumble
Chocolate-Dipped Cranberry Walnut Biscotti
Easy Peppermint Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup
Oh My GOODNESS! That all sounds wonderful! I cannot wait to try them out. Thank you SO much Robin!! You are a wealth of knowledge and an important friend to all of us busy moms. Thank you for sharing your story (and your tips and recipes too)!!
I recently made Robin’s recipe for Double Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp for a Halloween Party and it was a total hit! I cannot wait to try some of the holiday recipes she’s just shared with us!!
Be sure to also check out some of the fantastic events with CaliGirl cooking coming up. Robin is a speaker at the upcoming Freedom Body Project that hosted by her friend Jennifer Ludington. It’s an online virtual summit starting November 18th that’s aimed at helping women unlock the mystery of weight loss and gain freedom by living at their ideal weight. You can reserve a spot HERE.
Robin has another incredible event on December 17th; Moms Night Out- Meal Prep For Littles. You can sign up for it HERE. You will spend the night with other mamas learning how to make healthy, freezer- friendly foods for your little ones. BONUS: You will also be able to take home what you prepare.
You MUST follow Robin and CaliGirl Cooking, TRUST ME! She is totally in line with our mission of the Local Moms Network and Santa Barbara Moms by Giving Moms the Gift of Time. She will not only save you time with meal planning and prepping, she will give you precious organizational tools, AND she will provide you with nutritious and easy recipes that the whole family will enjoy!
Personalized Meal Planning Service: https://www.caligirlcooking.com/personalized-meal-planning-services/